There will be lots of games this coming weekend that pit losing teams against one another. There will be far fewer games that are meaningful because the teams that participate in them have winning records and a real chance to play after the regular season ends.
The St. Louis Rams and the Minnesota Vikings are two of those squads, teams with winning records that will be facing off against one another. The Rams, a team that finds itself in second place in the West Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) with a Won-Loss record of 4-3 are scheduled to travel to Minnesota to square off against the home team Vikings, a group that is also in second place in the NFC North Division with a Won-Loss record of 5-2.
The visiting Rams trail first place Arizona by one-and-one-half games while the Vikings are just a single game behind the Green Bay Packers. Clearly, both teams have a solid chance to finish first in their respective divisions and an even better opportunity to capture one of two Wild Cards that are available to them and all other NFC squads.
With only nine regular season games remaining to be played, this match-up between contenders is really important. A win for either team will go a long way toward increasing its chance to play in the postseason.
And while a loss on Sunday will not eliminate either team from playoff consideration, it will be a setback that makes it much more difficult to play meaningful football in January, 2016. The visiting Rams and the home team Vikings employ solid offensive play, especially from rookie RB Todd Gurley and also features a stout defense and competent special teams to win games that less capable teams lose.
Second year franchise quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has elevated his performance for Minnesota and running back Adrian Peterson provides the kind of ground game that enables the Vikings to use “ball control” to keep opposing offenses off the field and win most games.
The Rams rely on a quality defense to stop offenses such as the one employed by the Vikings and generally score enough on offense to emerge victorious against even the toughest competition.
Add the “pros and cons” for both squads and it seems certain that this game will be hard-fought from start to finish. It is likely to be somewhat low-scoring, as well. And it will surprise nobody in attendance or watching on television if the final score is close, favoring one team or the other by less than seven points.
That is frequently what happens in the National Football League (NFL) when there is little to distinguish between competitors on offense, on defense and on special teams.
This critically-important contest should remain in doubt until the very end.
Courtesy of Bleacher Report